APIS & Visa requirements
The following requirements apply for visa-free entry to the USA
- You must be a citizen of a member state of the Visa Waiver Program
- Your passport must meet the criteria required by the USA
- You must have an ESTA travel permit
- You must have submitted your APIS details
Visa-free entry is only possible if all 4 criteria are met. If not, you must apply for a visa. To do so, please contact the US Embassy in your country.
Visa Waiver Program
Member countries in the Visa Waiver Program
Citizens of these countries are able to visit the USA for up to 90 days without a visa.
What are the passport requirements for travel under the Visa Waiver Program?
Check in advance to make sure that your passport is still valid for a sufficient period of time and that it meets US requirements for visa-free entry into the USA. If this is not the case, then please either extend your passport or apply for a visa.
Visa Waiver Program requirements are:
- The passport must have a machine-readable zone on the biographic page.
- Issued on or after October 26, 2005 Each Visa Waiver Program passport issued on or after this date must have a digital photo.
- Issued on or after October 26, 2006 Each Visa Waiver Program passport issued on or after this date must be an electronic passport with a digital chip containing biometric information about the passport owner.
For more information, see Passport requirements
ESTA travel authorization
To strengthen the security of travel to the United States under the Visa Waiver Program, requirements to travel visa-free have been enhanced. Nationals of Visa Waiver Program countries will still be eligible to travel without a visa but will have to obtain an approved electronic travel authorization (ESTA) prior to their travel to the United States.
Apply for the ESTA travel authorization at least 72 hours before your departure directly at ESTA
Who is required to have a travel authorization?
All passengers traveling under the Visa Waiver Program are required to have an approved travel authorization prior to traveling to the United States by air. Even non-ticketed infants are required to have an approved travel authorization, if they do not have a visa for travel to the United States. An application may be submitted by a third party on behalf of a Visa Waiver Program traveler.
When do I need to apply for a travel authorization?
Applications may be submitted at any time prior to travel to the United States. The Department of Homeland Security recommends that travel authorization applications be submitted at least 72 hours prior to travel. Unless revoked, travel authorizations are valid for two years from the date of authorization, or until your passport expires, whichever comes first.
Validity of the ESTA travel authorisation
Your ESTA authorization is valid for up to two years provided it is not withdrawn and your passport does not expire. This means it is valid for several entries to the USA. You can update the address of your destination, travel route or future travel plans at the ESTA website.
APIS data acquisition
Airlines use the “Advanced Passenger Information System (APIS)” to transmit the details of all passengers to the USA Immigration Department on the day of their departure. You must provide the full and correct details if you wish to avoid difficulties at your destination. These details include your name, passport data, address in the USA and so on.